Vengeance Rising

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Vengeance Rising
Origin Los Angeles, California, US
Genres Thrash metal, Christian metal (early)
Years active 1987–1992, 2000–2004
Labels Intense
Associated acts Die Happy, Deliverance, Once Dead
Past members
  • Chris Hyde
  • Derek Sean
  • Jamie Mitchell
  • Victor Macias
  • Jimmy P. Brown II
  • Johnny Vasquez
  • George Ochoa
  • Daniel Cordova
  • Michael Wagel
  • Glenn Rogers
  • Roger Martinez

Vengeance Rising was an American Christian thrash metal band from Los Angeles, California.[1] Fronted by vocalist Roger Martinez, they originally formed as Vengeance in 1987, but changed their name in 1989 to avoid conflict with another band from the Netherlands.[2] Band members Larry Farkas, Doug Thieme, Roger Dale Martin, and Glen Mancaruso left following Once Dead and formed the band Die Happy.[3] Roger Martinez stayed on to record two more studio albums, but aside from him, Vengeance Rising's lineup changed for each subsequent album. While the group was a ground breaking Christian metal band, today Vengeance Rising is known for vocalist Martinez's turning from Christianity to Satanism to atheism,[4] since he has continuously done interviews about it. AllMusic describes Vengeance Rising's history as "one of the most entertaining and bizarre stories in the realm of heavy metal."[5]


The band was known for its fascination with violent themes, as reflected lyrically in their first two albums.[2] Their first two albums, before the split into Die Happy, are considered their best. Their debut Human Sacrifice was called "the most radical Christian album ever released" by HM Magazine editor Doug Van Pelt.[6] Their penchant for violence extended to the stage, and the band would graphically portray the crucifixion of Christ at their shows.[1] Extreme graphics also appeared in the cover art of the band's albums. Both Human Sacrifice and Once Dead were censored by Christian bookstores at least partially because of their violent graphical content.[7][8] Copies of their third release. Destruction Comes, had a censorship sticker covering the male figure, dubbed "Raegoul", exposing half of his flesh without skin.[citation needed]

A review of Once Dead in CCM found that the cover of that albums depiction of "resurrection from spiritual death" was "grisly".[9] Musically, the album showed an influence of speed metal, with thrash arrangements on some songs, like the cover of Deep Purple's Space Truckin',[9] and "Out of the Will", which reminded one reviewer of One Bad Pig.[10] While the vocals often sounded "like someone gargling razor blades",[10] the lyrics were found to be "very Bible based,"[10] and matched with the scriptural references from which they were drawn.[9]

Frontman Roger Martinez had a background in the Pentecostal Foursquare Church, and was baptized there.[2][11] He eventually rose to be pastor of a Hollywood area church, though by Released Upon the Earth he had left to pursue music full-time.[2] While there, he began to look into the practice of faith healing, and he claimed to have found it to be a fraud.[11]

In the mid 1990s, Martinez left the Christian faith, telling HM that he was a committed atheist in 1997.[2] There were rumors at this time that it is possible that he was never a Christian and was putting on a performance.[11] Today, Martinez has obtained rights to the band name for future projects. According to Scott Waters and Steve Rowe, Martinez began to make tapes counteracting the tapes he made during his Christian career. He created a website that renounced his previous output and posted articles portraying Christian leaders in a negative light. Martinez then began making death threats to individuals he claimed "stabbed him in the back", which included friend Steve Rowe of Mortification, a band Martinez helped get their first record contract.

Although he has stated that he was working on an album to be released under the name "Vengeance Rising" with more of an anti-Christian, Satanic Atheism theme,[2][11] the album, reportedly titled Realms of Blasphemy, has never been released.[citation needed] The album had a strong satanic and anti-Christian theme, sporting titles such as: "Synagogues for Satan" and "Blaspheme the Holy Ghost".[citation needed]

Vocalist Scott Waters of Ultimatum and Once Dead stated on his metal music review website that

Allmusic lists two releases... both of which I doubt ever existed... Former drummer Shannon Frye claims that Martinez was impossible to work with and could not hold on to members long enough to even record a demo.

He also claims that Martinez only kept the name of Vengeance Rising because of "continued curiosity from metal fans and Christians alike".[citation needed] In 2007, Shannon Frye did an interview where they mentioned his time in Vengeance. He stated

I quit shortly after I joined which was 1998. As far as I know, there was no album recorded. But I don’t know much about it if there was, because I just wanted nothing to do with that excuse called a “band” after I quit. I thought it would have been a great opportunity at the time I joined, but that faded quickly. I just don’t like to get into this subject. This is one of those things I wish never happened and would love to erase that from any history ever![12]

After the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred, Martinez offered free albums from his website for military personnel to encourage a "holy war against Christians". Former fans and critics believe this to be an attack on former bandmates and Christianity, due to the straining situation of debt that he was left with when band members departed after the "Once Dead Tour".[citation needed] However, the former band members - Farkas, Thieme, Martin and Mancaruso - spoke out against the claims that Martinez put out. Martinez stated that the four of them had stolen from him. Despite this, the four of them stated that they never stole equipment and that he took all responsibility for the debts of Vengeance, which he agreed to. This was covered in an issue of Heaven's Metal Magazine, with Doug Van Pelt interviewing all of them.

Former founding members of Vengeance Rising along with Ultimatum vocalist Scott Waters reformed in 2004 to play a reunion show at a small club called Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California.[13] Since Martinez owns the rights to the name "Vengeance Rising", they used the name Once Dead. They released a DVD of that show called Return with a Vengeance.[citation needed]

On August 6, 2017, it was announced that Human Sacrifice was being reissued and a reunion show, with the band's original lineup, with Jim Settle, vocalist of Hand of Fire, filling-in on vocals for Martinez, would be performed at SoCal Metal Fest 2 on August 12.[14]


Studio albums
  • Anthology (1993, Intense)


Many members have participated in other projects


Name Instrument Years Other groups Additional notes
Larry Farkas Lead Guitars 1987–1990, 2017-present Die Happy, Neon Cross, Deliverance, Holy Soldier, Once Dead, Sanctuary Celebration Band, D.O.G., S.A.L.T.
Doug Thieme Rhythm Guitars 1987–1990, 2017-present Die Happy, Once Dead
Roger Dale Martin Bass 1987–1990, 2017-present Emerald, Holy Right, Die Happy, Once Dead, Sanctuary Celebration Band
Glen Mancaruso Drums 1987–1990, 2017-present Die Happy, Once Dead, S.A.L.T.
Jim Settle Vocals 2017-present Tantrum of the Muse, Bore, Hand of Fire[14]


Name Instrument Years Other groups Additional notes
Roger Martinez rhythm guitar, bass, lead vocals 1987–1992 Prophet
Chris Hyde drums 1991 Deliverance, Holy Soldier deceased 2015[17]
Derek Sean lead guitar 1991 Mortification
Johnny Vasquez drums 1991–1992 Mortification (live), The Blamed
Glenn Rogers rhythm guitars 1987[18] Hirax, Deliverance, Heretic, Once Dead, Final Decree, Primal, Steel Vengeance, Viking
Sharon vocals 1987[19]
Steve Bertram drums 1987[19] Final Decree
Michael Betts drums 1987[19] Neon Cross
  • Jamie Mitchell - (1991) lead guitar (Scaterd Few)
  • Victor Macias (aka Joe Monsorb'nik) - (1991) bass (Tourniquet, Deliverance)
  • Jimmy P. Brown II (aka Simon Dawg) - (1991) (Deliverance)

Side projects[edit]

  • Larry Farkas, Doug Thieme, Roger Martin, and Glenn Mancaruso played in Die Happy. All the aforementioned also formed Once Dead with Scott Waters in 2004.
  • Jamie Mitchell played in the punk band Scaterd Few.
  • Larry Farkas, George Ochoa, Jimmy Brown, Chris Hyde and Victor Macias played in Deliverance.
  • Daniel Cordova made a guest appearance on "Sons of Thunder" CD by Driver.
  • Roger Martinez produced a demo for the band Ritual in 1991.
  • Macias also performed in Tourniquet.


  1. ^ a b Hale, Mark (1993). "3119". Headbangers (First edition, second printing ed.). Ann Arbor, Michigan: Popular Culture, Ink. p. 376. ISBN 1-56075-029-4. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Powell (2002). "Vengeance Rising". Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. pp. 993–994. 
  3. ^ Powell, Mark Allan (2002). "Die Happy". Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 256–257. ISBN 1-56563-679-1. 
  4. ^ Majalahti, Michael (2004-03-02). "The Best Kept Secrets in Rock". Imperiumi. Open Publishing. Archived from the original on 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  5. ^ Torreano, Bradley. "Vengeance Rising Biography". Allmusic. AMG. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  6. ^ Van Pelt, Doug (November 1988). "Metal Reviews / Human Sacrifice". CCM Magazine. 11 (5): 35–36. ISSN 1524-7848. 
  7. ^ Van Pelt, Doug (February 1989). "Mosh For The Master". CCM Magazine. 11 (8): 20–21. ISSN 1524-7848. 
  8. ^ Van Pelt, Doug (March 1990). "On The Beat / Metal". CCM Magazine. 12 (9). ISSN 1524-7848. 
  9. ^ a b c Van Pelt, Doug (April 1990). "Review / Once Dead". CCM Magazine. 12 (10): 50, 52. ISSN 1524-7848. 
  10. ^ a b c d Caughey, Dave (September 1990). "Vengeance Rising - Once Dead". Cross Rhythms (03). 
  11. ^ a b c d "Roger Martinez: Where Is He Now?". HM Magazine (66). July–August 1997. ISSN 1066-6923. Archived from the original on 2000-06-20. Retrieved 2007-04-30. 
  12. ^ Frye, Shannon (May 29, 2007). "Avenger of Blood - Annihilation Continues..." Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen. Metal-Rules. Retrieved September 1, 2016. 
  13. ^ Interview with Vengeance at the Wayback Machine (archive index). June 12, 2004. Retrieved on October 3, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Beard, Mason (August 9, 2017). "Vengeance Rising reissue and reunion show". Indie Vision Music. Retrieved August 9, 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Cranson, David (February 1999). "Vengeance Rising - Human Sacrifice/Once Dead". Cross Rhythms (49). 
  16. ^ Cummings, Tony (February 1992). "Vengeance Rising - Destruction Comes". Cross Rhythms (10). 
  17. ^ "Drummer Chris Hyde dies at 50". 
  18. ^ Rene (February 20, 2013). "A True Heretic-Interview with Glenn Rogers". Thrash Head. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  19. ^ a b c Gatto, Chris (July 28, 2016). "Vengeance Revisited: A 2013 Interview". Heaven's Metal. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 

External links[edit]